5 Early NHL Draft Targets New Jersey Devils Should Hope For

New Jersey Devils NHL Draft (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
New Jersey Devils NHL Draft (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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NHL Draft
Slovakia’s Simon Nemec (R). (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP) /

D. New Jersey Devils. Simon Nemec. 2. player. 85.

The Devils in 2021 traded for Ryan Graves, Jonas Siegenthaler, and Christian Jaros, signed Dougie Hamilton to a seven-year deal worth $9 million per season, and drafted Luke Hughes with their fourth-overall pick. They spent a lot of their assets to reset the defense now and in the future. The Devils have Hughes, Ty Smith, Kevin Bahl, Shakir Mukhamadullin, Nikita Okhotyuk, and Reilly Walsh as great defensive prospects that have NHL upside (if they aren’t there already). So, should the Devils spend another premium asset on a defenseman when they also have Hamilton and Damon Severson?

Yes, they should absolutely take Simon Nemec if they have the chance. Nemec had a wild year thanks to the NHL players being held out of the Olympics. Because that happened, he got to represent Team Slovakia in the Games, and he won a bronze medal. He also played for Slovakia at the World Juniors U20 and U18 games, although the former was canceled before the tournament could get going.

Nemec is playing his regular season for HK Nitra in the Slovakian league. In the playoffs, he has four goals and six assists in 13 playoff games. He’s a right-handed shot, and nobody is really close to him in terms of skill and ability on the blue line in this draft. Getting someone to play on the opposite side of Luke Hughes for the rest of their careers makes a lot of sense. Hughes is a lefty, so they make an automatic line that might make it to the NHL at the same exact time.

Imagine putting together a line of Hughes-Nemec in 2023-24? That would definitely be worth the wait.